Bishnupur is a town and a municipality in Bankura District in the state of West Bengal, India. It is famous for its terracotta temples and the balucheri sarees.
Bishnupur was ruled under the Gupta period by local Hindu kings who paid tribute to Samudra Gupta. Following a long period of obscurity, where the land oscillated between being a minor independent principality and a vassal state. The land is also called Mallabhum after the Malla rulers of this place. The Malla rulers were Vaishnavites and built the famous terracotta temples during the 17th and 18th century at this place. The terracotta temples here are the best specimen of the classical style of Bengal architecture. The legends of Bipodtarini Devi are associated with Malla Kings of Bishnupur.
Bishnupur (the distance from Kolkata is 132 km), now the headquarters of the subdivision of the same name in Bankura district, is a seat of crafts and culture.
For almost a thousand years it was the capital of the Malla kings of Mallabhum, of which Bankura was a part, till their power waned during the times when Mughal Empire weakened under the last monarchs of the dynasty.
The patronage of Malla king Veer Hambir and his successors Raja Raghunath Singha Dev and Bir Singha Dev made Bishnupur one of the principal centres of culture in Bengal. Most of the exquisite terracotta temples for which town is justly famous were built during this period.
Mrinmoyee temple of kings is treated as a valuable historic place.
Bishnupur is located at 23°05′N 87°19′E. It has an average elevation of 59 metres (194 feet).
As of 2001 India census, Bishnupur had a population of 61,943. Males constitute 50% of the population and females 50%. Bishnupur has an average literacy rate of 69%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 77% and female literacy of 61%. 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.
Bishnupur is a predominantly Bengali speaking city.
Bishnupur is reasonably well connected via roads. Due to its importance as a tourism destination, it is basically connected to almost all major places of Bengal. Long distance buses connect Bishnupur to places like Arambag, Durgapur, Asansol, Kolkata etc. There are regular and frequent bus services available between Kolkata and Bishnupur. The buses usually leave Kolkata from the Espalnade bus stand. The journey takes about 4 hours and 45 minutes.
Bishnupur is well-connected by rail to the rest of the country via Kharagpur and Adra. Express and mail trains ply between Kolkata and Bishnupur on a regular basis. The Rupashi Bangla Express, Aranyak Express and the Purulia Express are the most convenient trains to reach Bishnupur from Kolkata; these trains come via Kharagpur(Midnapur) and take approx 3:30 to 4:15 hours to reach Bishnupur from Kolkata.
Within the city of Bishnupur, private auto-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws are most convenient mode of communication. Recently CNG autos have been introduced plying through various parts of the town. These vehicles are environment-friendly, non-polluting, convenient, less time consuming and cheap mode of travel.
The Bishnupur Mela is held every year around the last week of December, in Raj Darbar. Later on Highschool Ground. A recent addition is Bishnupur Utsab, held immediately after the Mela. It is a classical music and dance festival in recognition of the ‘Bishnupur Gharana’ in music. But the Bishnupur Utsab has been stopped due to some financial problems and other matters.